ConferenCe report Inspiring true leadership I nspiring passionate leadership so that those in kinds of issues did not always exist, she said. couch discussions with leaders such as Mac Ma- top positions in local government embrace their JF “Boeboe” van Wyk, from the Northern Cape haraj and Western Cape Premier Ebrahim Rasool work with a new and fresh commitment was said local government needed “strong, seasoned priovided food for thought. the motivation of the Governance Summer School leaders” to facilitate development. “Our mission with the GSS is to encourage great (GSS), held in Somerset West in March 2008. “We need to develop expertise and, in the case thinking and ingenuity among our leaders,” says Before the event, Western Cape Head of Depart- of the Northern Cape, we need to retain these ex- Majiet, “I am looking forward to seeing how par- ment for Local Government and Housing, Shanaaz pertise. ticipants engage with the process and embrace key Majiet, said she wanted those municipal leaders Tutu Ralane, chair of Parliament’s select com- new lessons into their leadership practice.” attending the GSS to leave with a strong feeling mittee on finance, kept the the GSS delegates Majiet confirmed that the summer school will be of commitment to serve ordinary people with pas- firmly rooted in reality when he said there must an annual event. sion. be dialogue between departments within a prov- “This is a major learning and networking time If the comments and enthusiasm of delegates was ince before too much was made of inter-provincial for municipal leadership structures in the three anything to go by, this aim was certainly achieved initiatives or else service delivery could be compro- provinces. There is so much wisdom across these during the five day summer school. Feedback was mised. areas and it is time to capitalise on this through all positive, with people using words like “informa- Ralane’s speech, the last in a line of dignitaries, workshops, dialogue and presentations.” tive”, “energising” and “thought-provoking” to de- tempered the ebullience of the pioneer inter-pro- scribe the conference. vincial Governance Summer School, reminding lo- “Great leadership relies on deep self awareness cal government leaders that there are real challenges and emotional maturity,” Majiet said, “the Summer facing service delivery in South Africa. School aims to build on this by encouraging reflec- Nevertheless, the three MEC’s all voiced their tion and an understanding of the responsibilities enthusiasm for the initiative. In coming years, they of being in a managerial position in local govern- said, it is hoped the conversations started at the ment.” Governance Summer School will see a sharing of The GSS is an initiative of Western Cape MEC skills and ideas as provinces grapple with issues re- for Local Government and Housing, Qubudile Ri- lating to service delivery. chard Dyantyi and, for the first time ever, involves Lechesa Tsenoli, chair of the traditional authorities and local government leaders portfolio committee on lo- from three provinces, the Northern, Eastern and cal government said the Western Cape. inter-provincial effort As Dyantyi commented at the opening function was an “historical” mo- for the GSS, local government leaders should “look ment in that is crossed to each other to find solutions to common prob- both political and ad- lems. ministrative boundaries. The first inter-provincial Governance Summer The GSS programme School was an ideal platform for sharing ideas, her- focused on leadership alding a new era of inter-governmental relations, development, looking he said. at areas of best practise Toko Xasa, Eastern Cape MEC for local govern- as well as giving del- ment, housing and tribal authorities agreed. She egates a chance to grap- said inter-provincial co-operation would open in- ple with problems in a visible borders enabling local government leaders to series of workshops. learn from and share solutions with each other on Documentary films common issues. added to the learning The strong leadership needed to deal with these process, while on-the- ro in eo e P v c fth EASTERN CAPE VOX POP Praise from the Minister G overnment, local, provincial and national, will act Single Public Service (SPS) legislation that we hope will be audaciously and unusually in striving to improve passed by parliament as early as November this year.” and accelerate service delivery through improved Announced during President Thabo Mbeki’s State of leadership and management. the Nation address in 2007, the SPS legislation seeks to These were the words of Minister of Public Service centralise the public service sector so as to better respond Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi’, speaking via live video link to the public’s demand for various government services. from her offices in Tshwane, was pleased with progress Service delivery, says Fraser-Moleketi, is key to the SPS. Anthony Ewerts made so far in the national government’s plans to improve “What we want to achieve is government being able to Defining service delivery across the country, but was the first to present a single-face to its citizens,” she explained, “and admit that plenty still needs to be done and that strong being able to guarantee all of its citizens experience the leadership and competent management were key to same-level of service delivery across all three spheres of municipal meeting their objectives. “Our goal is to improve access to government services for all our citizens, no matter where they are,” she said. government – local, provincial and national.” It is the level of service delivery, however, that many claim needs to be improved and Fraser-Moleketi agrees challenges “We’re focusing on a people-centred approach and for it to work we need strong and capable professionals in leadership positions to drive this policy.” wholeheartedly, saying that improving this area of government was the main reason behind the proposed SPS legislation. Sipho Sebusho, from the She applauded the efforts of the Western Cape, Eastern “Our public service works under the motto “we belong, Kgalagadi District Municipality Cape and Northern Cape provincial governments for we serve, we care” which is wonderful in theory but in in the Northern Cape, said the having the foresight in organising to get together at the practice our public service remains generally unfriendly biggest challenge facing his local GSS in an attempt to improve inter-provincial working towards South African citizens. government was the backlog in relationships, adding that she hopes all the other provinces “A lot of the time public servants continue to act as if housing and infrastructure. follow suit. they are doing the public a favour and that is a mindset we “Our local government is in “It is vitally important that our provinces – and even have to change. former Bophuthatswana,” he our local municipalities – learn to work together to solve “Whether one is an elected official or an appointed says, “poverty and unemployment problems,” she said, “especially in light of the proposed official, it is our job to serve.” are major factors.” Sebusho said there was a need Co-operation in action to clarify the roles of local government leaders who often became “too involved” when they needed to spend more time I looking at the “bigger picture”. n an example of co-operation in “For the first time in our country the European Union,” he said, “and Nomonde Dyani from the Great action, the Western and Eastern one province will be able to say they the Northern Cape’s are lower.” Kei Municipality in the Eastern Cape provincial governments used do not have a housing problem,” His statement was meet with cheers Cape, said the communities the forum of the GSS to announce Dyantyi said. and clapping from Northern Cape her local government served their intention to give a once-off Dyantyi said other projects could local government leaders. were being held up by poor cash-injection from their budgets to be identified in future where the three Renita Soodeyal, executive manager infrastructure. the Northern Cape to help end its provinces could help each other. for housing with the Northern Cape’s “We live in a beautiful part housing backlog. Northern Cape Local Government Department of Housing and Local of South Africa that has great Western Cape MEC for Local Gov- and Housing MEC JF “Boeboe” van Government, said the province tourism potential but the roads ernment and Housing, Qubudile Wyk said the cash injection meant should be held up as an example of are terrible and water and Richard Dyantyi, made the there was a good chance that “best practise” to the rest of the sanitation infrastructure are announcement in his opening country. insufficient.” presentation. “It’s hats off the South African Poverty alleviation would come “We are looking at enough funds Police Services,” she said, “they are with infrastructure development for between 15 000 to 20 000 vigilant and visible in the Northern as the areas around Komga, houses,” he said in an interview Cape and this is paying off.” Chintsa, Hagga Hagga and afterwards. Kagisho Ositang, from the Kei Mouth attracted growing “We will not take money away Gamagara Local Municipality near volumes of tourists. from housing in the Western Kuruman, said Dugmore’s statistics Anthony Ewerts from the Cape,” Dyantyi explained, “this “reinforce the idea that our province Kannaland Municipality in the will be money allocated from our is a tranquil and spiritual place where Western Cape, were keen to use provincial budget to the Northern people live more balanced lives”. the GSS as an opportunity to Cape towards its housing backlog.” Clement Itumeleng, also from meet government leaders who He said that too often housing Gamagara Local Municipality, said can explain why worthwhile backlogs were approached in a the Northern Cape would be Dugmore’s statement proved that job creation projects are often “bietjie-bietjie” manner with no able to would meet the national target although people were poor they did stonewalled by red tape. inroads made into the backlog. of eradicating informal settlements by not automatically resort to crime. “We have good ideas that never Eastern Cape MEC for Local 2014. “It immediately made me think of a get off the ground because people Government, Housing and And this was not the only time community like Pixley ka Sema (near are worried about “vetplante” Traditional Affairs, Toko Xasa, has at the conference that the Northern Colesburg) where strong leadership and “klippies” (fossils),” said also agreed to the initiative which has Cape was the centre of attention. and good co-ordination means social Ewerts. He went on to say that yet to be approved by the national On Day 3 of the conference, Harry problems like housing are being dealt a municipality like Kannaland Department of Finance. Dugmore, from the South African with properly.” needed “big development” to Dyantyi said the idea had been Presidency’s Policy Co-ordination Ositang also pointed out that boost earnings of local residents discussed among Western Cape MECs and Advisory Services, told delegates Northern Cape people were not enabling them to pay rates. who understood that the housing that the Northern Cape could people who stood waiting for “This way we won’t have to go to backlog in the Northern Cape could compare with the safest countries in government hand-outs but were government, cap in hand, asking be wiped out with an extra push from the world. proactively finding ways to earn their for money,” he said. that province’s two neighbours. “Spain has the lowest crime level in livings. The formula for VOX POP good governance W e have the skills, we have the knowledge, and like making deals and building coalitions when dealing we have the framework to make the public with problems. service work, all that is lacking is the spark and Facilitator Sindisile Maclean emphasied the importance that spark is leadership. “collective leadership” and developing trust between Using the analogy of an ironmonger who has all the tools political leaders and administrators. but lacks that first spark to light the fire, facilitator David “If you treat each other as colleagues instead of friends Schmidt laid out the basic tenets of what constitutes good the relationship works much more successfully,” he said. leadership Schmidt got down to the nuts-and-bolts nitty- Referring to the case study, which involved an enthusiastic gritty of what makes a good leader and how to improve but complacent municipal manager he emphasised the leadership skills, all the while reinforcing a importance of consultation in decision-making processes. constant theme that leadership is key to “You must have buy in from stake-holders or else the getting things done. process cannot go forward,” he said. Charles Ntiomi This theme was carried through in Sinazo Sibisi from the Development Bank of South Africa the daily workshop sessions, where delegates were divided into four groups, each with a real-life municipal said she was impressed by the listening skills and interactive abilities of municipal leaders attending the workshops. “People began to struggle when they had to get to the Projects, management challenge to tackle. “Whether things happen or not is almost always down to the heart of the problem. The approach needed to be more systematic with a critical analysis (that is the cause and effect) of each issue.” backlogs presence – or lack of strong leadership,” She said the tendency was to look for external influences with an emphasis on legislation and process rather than on and hope Schmidt said. the role of the individual in the process. “Some people are It was at this stage in the workshops that some delegates born with natural leadership ability but everyone can stopped attending the discussions. “What we need to understand about leadership is that you can’t give up, you are in it for the long haul.” P umelelo Kate of the Makana Municipality in the Eastern Cape believes that the biggest learn to be a better Each group had an opportunity to present an analysis problem facing the municipality leader. And all of us of the problem they had tackled during the week and will, at some stage or another, be called upon to take on to explain how they, as local government leaders, would is the provision of housing and in some sort of leadership responsibilities.” resolve the issue. a broader sense, service delivery. Distilling reams of research and thought on the matter, Group 1’s example entitled “The Pressure Cooker” “We are experiencing a backlog Schmidt spoke about the attributes of a good leader and looked at issues relating to mistrust between politicians in housing delivery,” he said. how to improve one’s leadership skills by focusing on and administrators and a municipal manager who could “We need the support of those areas where one is weakest and by being open to not handle conflict. The emphasis of their response was new ideas. on building strong leadership and teams that could deliver provincial and local government Unsurprisingly the outstanding leadership of former while improving communication. to overcome these challenges and President Nelson Mandela was often referred to, Group 2 had a municipal manager and mayor at to ensure allocations for housing especially in the all-important but oft-overlooked area loggerheads coupled with deteriorating staff morale and are provided timeously.” of counter-intuitive wisdom. a corrupt official. The response of this group was to help Charles Ntlomi of Breede “Good leaders, like former president Mandela, have the mayor understand her leadership style and to rebuild the counter-intuitive wisdom to recognise that the relationships at the top level. They also advised her to take Valley Municipality identified obvious or popular answer is often not an answer at all,” a hard line with individuals who misused trust. the current issue with load explained Schmidt. Group 3 outlined the challenges facing rural shedding as a major concern. “They recognise that change is often about changing municipalities with complexities like difficult traditional “We recently purchased a farm the way people think. The good leader is able to inspire leaders and the pressure for economic development pitted the people with their vision; they are able to get the against issues of sustainability. in the Rawsonville area,” he said, people to see that change is necessary even though most This group favoured asking the provincial government illustrating one case in point. people do not like change. structures for help, improving training and asking the “But now Eskom has told us to “A good leader not only implements change, but Development Bank of SA to assist with skills development stop development there, so that inspires the people to focus on the problems most would for the financial manager. project is at a standstill.” rather ignore.” The final example was of a complacent but enthusiastic Edgar Pieterse, Director of the African Centre for Cities municipal manager who over-focused on long-term “We have huge infrastructural at the University of Cape Town, agreed, pointing out that strategies while assuming all was well back at the office. backlogs and issues with money, local government leaders needed to have confidence in their When auditors informed her that fraud was on the increase but we have lobbied to the abilities and emotional maturity if they were to successfully the team advised her to get back to the office and pay provincial government to assist drive the teams charged with delivering services to South attention to basics. us,” he continued. Africa’s people. Western Cape Department of Local Government and “The formula for good leadership is to ensure you have Housing HoD, Shanaaz Majiet summed up the workshops Professor of Law at the the competencies around you to get the job done, an ability saying how wonderful it would be to have the combined University of the Western Cape, to build integrity within your organisation and innovation wisdom of all those who worked through the workshop Jaap de Visser is optimistic about which enables you to navigate through difficult problems.” problems to help solve day-today problems in local the GSS conference. Pieterse said local government leaders attending the governments. “I think it’s an excellent event,” conference workshops had tended towards a “technocratic “Maybe then being the leader would not always have to response” and needed to make more of “adaptive challenges” be so lonely.” he said. Emulating the moral choices of true leaders T hose fabulously colourful shirts and that directed from behind.” presentation entitled “Leadership and ethics – Lessons famous soft-shoe shuffle may be nowhere However, Maharaj was quick to point out from the business sector”, Survé used the true story of in sight but the legacy of Madiba still that great leaders have the ability to sum up the a group of American businessmen, who spent a great looms large. As it should, with former President situation and go against accepted beliefs if it is deal of money and prepared long and hard to make Nelson Mandela embodying all the characteristics called for. an ascent of Mount Everest, but who were faced with of great leadership, characteristics learners at the “Remember that Madiba went ahead with a difficult moral dilemma when they were halfway. GSS are striving to emulate as they seek to improve negotiations with the apartheid government “On their way to the top they met a Tibetan holy their own ability to deliver to the people. without consulting any of his colleagues,” man who was clearly in distress and would die if they In seeking to tap in to the skills and knowledge of explained Maharaj. “ did not help him,” Survé told a captivated audience. past leaders, many former struggle and government He believed that if he did inform them of “They had to make a moral decision, do they leave stalwarts were invited to speak of their experiences his intentions that they would veto him. In this him there and carry on, after all they had spent so of leadership – and almost without fail they end instance he was the nimble sheep leaping ahead much money and prepared for this for so long, or do up either quoting the great man or speaking of of the flock because that is what the situation they take him down.” his ability to resolve what seemed to be the most demanded. After much discussion the businessmen decided to intractable problems. “He also realised that as a leader you sometimes leave the holy man they reasoned that anyone on the Mac Maharaj, the first Minister of Transport have to take actions that are unpopular or actions mountain should know the risk. They made it to the in the new democratic South Africa, was no whose results will only be known years later. top of Everest and on the descent looked for the holy exception, capturing the imagination of even the And Madiba always was ready to accept the man but he was gone. most fatigued learner with his tales of life behind responsibility of those actions.” “The question is, did they do the right thing? And, bars on Robben Island with Madiba While much of the discussion what would you do in a similar situation?” he asked and other legendary leaders was taken up with anecdotes both delegates. After some mumbling from the audience such as Albert Sisulu. touching and hilarious, Maharaj Survé delivered his curve ball. “The leader of that In attempting to perhaps inspired learners expedition regretted his decision to walk away from explain why Madiba most out of all the speakers that holy man. is such a great today, ending his talk by “The businessmen were all good men but, when leader, Maharaj admitting that while “there they were faced with one of the big moral decisions quoted an axiom are no more Mandelas or of their lives, did they do the right thing?” his old friend Sisulus, there is a Mandela, The point was, he said, that leadership often learnt from the there is a Sisulu in each one produced numerous dilemmas that needed a multi- chief of his Xhosa of you.” dimensional response. His advice to his audience: tribe; an axiom The theme of the good “when faced with difficult decisions stay close to your Madiba often within each person was moral centre.” quoted himself continued by Iqbal Survé, In his presentation Survé talked about the conflicts when explaining CEO and Chairman of created by a free-market economy especially in a what makes the Sekunjalo Investment country like South Africa where “the poor were someone a good Group and South Africa’s getting poorer and the rich richer.” leader: 2007 Businessman of the Black businessmen need to find new role models “A leader is like Year when he addressed that reflected their history, he said. To model a shepherd; he stays delegates. themselves on existing business was to lose sight of behind the flock, Every person is essentially their “moral centre” as apartheid-era businesses did allowing the nimble sheep good but life is complex and one’s not invest in human capital and did not, necessarily, to leap ahead thinking they value system can be compromised share their value system. are leading the flock while by a multitude of different “It is not a sin to make money but it is important all the while they factors, he said. to do it in an honourable way.” are being In his Survé said there would always be tension between South Africa’s government and business as the one existed to: “change society, help the needy with a strong sense of commitment and sacrifice,” while the other was there to make money. South Africa was exceptional in that there was a strong friendship between black business and government because of their shared experience and a joint desire to redress imbalances of the past and change the legacy of the country. Survé said he was guided by a simple philosophy; “Do good and do well; use shared experience that recognises common objectives and, whatever method of delivery you use, ensure that IN FINE FORM: Mac Maharaj captured the imagination of the ordinary people do well.” everyone in his capacity audience A glimpse into the VOX POP future of SA S outh Africa’s policy makers need to take heed this would happen in 2015 but others said the of future-based research to plan for different halfway mark had already been passed. scenarios and avoid costly catastrophes like the Very worrying for South Africa was the growing country’s current power crisis. income inequality between rich and poor countries INSPIRED: Fundiswa Gxabuza Harry Dugmore, from the South African with a large part of the world’s wealth concentrated Presidency’s Policy Co-ordination and Advisory Services, said too often research was ignored and no among a handful of rich people in the US. “The top 10% of the US Municipal plans put in place for inevitable scenarios. Dugmore introduced delegates population own as much as 43% of the rest of the world.” Even in South Africa the collaboration to the Presidency’s “Scenario Planning for 2025” which is to be wealth gap was widening – not between race groups but between is essential released in July this year. the middle class and the poor. He drew attention to the current electricity crisis saying it “Poverty is a huge factor for our country with 45% of our M ost municipalities in the three partner departments of the Western, Northern and Eastern Cape face similar challenges. would have been easy to predict people living on less than R3000 when placed alongside the a year.” Social welfare grants had These include a backlog in housing, a lack of country’s economic growth. alleviated suffering for many but funding and poor infrastructure and service delivery. Most were unanimous in agreeing “Sooner or later the lines were did not include the unemployed. that more support from central government going to cross,” he said. Dugmore also drew attention is needed, along with support from other Dugmore said current scenario to South Africa’s low literacy levels institutions to provide financial aid. planning was showing that there saying that if more was done for It is for these reasons that Dean O’Neill would be a “seismic shift” in the WARNING: Harry Dugmore primary education, high school from Matzikama Municipality believes that world economic power in coming and university education would the GSS is “essential.” years with China and India rapidly coming up take care of themselves. “It’s a great platform for local government behind the United States of America in terms of In a follow-up presentation Edgar Pieterse, from different provinces to share best growth. Director of the African Centre for Cities at the practice,” he said. “We may be based in On the oil crisis, he said, the current high prices University of Cape Town, said South Africa was different provinces, but we face the same had surprised even scenario planners, and looked set walking a fine line between growth, redistribution, problems and it will be interesting to see how to worsen. equity and sustainability. each of us will address these problems.” Furthermore, O’Neill said that politics in “There is no oil to sell. Do you not think that, at Government leaders had to make “hard choices” the Western Cape was the biggest challenge these prices, Saudi Arabia would not be pumping in the types of interventions they wanted to make the municipality faces. “In the Western more oil if it could? The truth is there is nothing to in communities so that they would have maximum Cape we have a coalition government of the pump, supplies are dwindling.” impact. ID, DA and an independent councillor, but Dugmore introduced the delegates to the concept “ Our leaders need to do their homework on the ANC has the most seats,” he explained. of “peak oil”, which was when the world’s finite oil issues they feel unsure about and identify points of “So, you’re not just doing your work in the supply was half gone. He said scientists predicted energy among business and communities.” municipality, but also managing politics.” Additionally, he reinforced that funding Inspiration on the big screen is a huge problem, especially with housing and services from central government. “You try to do what you can,” he said, “but there T he documantary films shown to Curitiba in Brazil needed solutions Than Just a Game”, from producer is a backlog.” GSS delegates were more than to the usual major problems facing Anant Singh and featuring, among Bongani Salman from Elundini Municipality in the Eastern Cape believes the GSS is a just good entertainment. Chosen for a large city. A limited budget forced others, actor Presley Chweneyagae “good initiative and informative.” their demonstration of how solutions innovative and also environmentally from the award-winning drama “The critical issue now,” he declared, “is to seemingly intractable problems can friendly solutions. “Tsotsi”, was a hit with delegates how we will assist the Western Cape, to be found, the two films showed very What emerged was an effective bus who showed their appreciation with which a lot of people are migrating. There is different examples of good leader- system that rivals underground trains a standing ovation as the end credits also a lot of unemployment in the area, but ship. for efficiency, a pioneering recycling rolled. we are working on solutions together.” A Convenient Truth: Urban So- scheme that also cleaned up the city It was an ovation richly deserved: Cornelius Ovies from the West Coast lutions from Curitiba, Brazil was a by paying people for collecting trash, although lacking the slick technical District Municipality says that with so many heartening documentary focusing on ample housing and jobs for people on prowess of Hollywood documentary strategies and policies in place, it is often the innovative, even radical, urban low incomes and a solution to flood- productions, it was a film that difficult for municipal leaders to do what environmental solutions from a bus- ing that also created beautiful park touched both the heart and the they want to do. “Even though municipalities tling city in Brazil. areas. funny bone in surprising ways. may have some good ideas,” he clarified, “Legislation and politicians often keep these Most environmental documen- It may all sound too good to be Using a combination of ideas from being implemented.” taries run along the lines of, “you true but those who put their faith in documentary interviews, dramatic Fundiswa Gxabuza from the Department thought the world was bad? Well, their city leaders were handsomely re-enactment and historical footage, of Local Government and Housing in the actually it’s far worse...”. rewarded. the film tells the story of five prisoners Western Cape enjoyed the studies on Not so with this documentary The other documentary showed a who formed the Makana Football leadership presented by Professor Brian - how refreshing that a film offers significant yet largely unknown part Association, and how playing the O’Connell on the first day. “It taught us all practical solutions from a real-life, of South Africa’s past: the history of game helped them “escape” from the what a bad leader is about,” she said. “It will large-scale example rather than just football on Robben Island. hellish conditions in which they were be interesting to come to the next Summer showing the problems. A special preview of the film “More incarcerated. School to see how far we’ve come.” It’s all about harnessing the powers of others A fascinating look at how the Indian city of Mumbai tackled its low-income housing crisis through vibrant and equal partnerships with the communities directly affected was the focus of yesterday afternoon’s session of the Governance Summer School (GSS) for local government leaders, underway in Somerset West. Over the past week learners have all heard how to better their leadership skills and among the many recurring themes has been one of direct community involvement, not just as direct beneficiaries of policies and interventions, but as partners in the policy and intervention design process. It was a theme reiterated by Joel Bolnick of the non-governmental organisation Shack Dwellers International as he expounded on lessons to be learnt from the Indian experience, focusing on two cities that boast some of the highest population densities on earth, severe poverty issues and a massive HIGH DENSITY: Slums in Mumbai informal settlement population. from the richest of the rich to the poorest of Bolnick also urged patience from all – “there “It’s all about harnessing the powers of the poor,” explained Bolnick. “And they did so will be disappointments and successes and others,” he said. “Data collection is vital – you by using the community as real players in the it will not happen overnight” – saying that have to know the problem and understand the process. It’s a perfect example of the importance the Mumbai slum dwellers were involved in problem before you can solve it – and who of getting communities properly involved in a the process for 21 years before they got new better to collect that data than those who are hands-on way in decision-making that directly housing. directly affected by the problem.” affects them. “The funny thing is that the people who Mumbai’s local authorities, faced with a “If you don’t involve the community, if can put up with the long delays are usually massive low-income relocation and housing you simply present them with the solution, the poor, because they have little or nothing” crisis, turned to community organisation that leads to a sense of entitlement and an he said. “Those with resources tend to be a lot National Slum Dweller’s Association (NSDA) unfortunate dependence on the state to solve more impatient.” for help, engaging the association on a number everything. By giving away their problems, And he concluded with yet another oft- of issues and co-opting them in to both the data communities give away the solutions to those repeated statement: “as leaders you have collection and policy design process. problems too.” to be able to convince the people to go the The city faced the problem of ever-expanding One of the main obstacles to getting the distance.” slum-dwelling areas, many of which sprung up community involved, explained Bolnick, is around railway line transport hubs and grew government’s mistrust of those communities, so fast and to such an extent that they begun a belief that communities cannot manage encroaching on the railway lines, a danger to themselves. It’s a belief, he said, based on a both railway commuters and the slum-dwellers. lack of knowledge. But such was the success of the partnership “Governments can tend to think that way that disaster was averted – in Mumbai, with because they don’t know the communities they the NSDA driving the process, authorities serve. You have to engage with communities managed to relocate over 30 000 slum to understand who they are. You must dwellers to new housing, ask the question ‘who and with a further are you?’” 70 000 relocations planned in the near future. “They managed to transform the city to the benefit of all re s i d e n t s , INSPIRED: Joel Bolnick The time has come to face challenges head on L eadership challenges in creating sustainable human settlements and development you have to tap in to the wealth of knowledge available in those services came under the spotlight with a focus on Isidima, the Western very communities you are developing.” Cape’s settlement and housing policy. Learners heard how pro-active, In his presentation, O’Connell said it was crucial that a leader inspired hope innovative and, most importantly, fearless leadership would be needed to create by outlining a future for his followers and working out a practical path to achieve and steer solutions to highly complex problems. goals. Professor Mark Swilling, from the Stellenbosch University’s School of Public On the issue of providing “alarming perspectives” O’ Connell used a map of the Management and Planning’s Sustainability Institute, spoke about the various world, which he adjusted to scale, to highlight which countries obstacles and complications faced by those tasked with creating sustainable were doing the most to provide tertiary education, promote human settlements in an urban environment and pointed out some solutions science and mathematics education, develop new products that have made a difference in the Western Cape. and encourage manufacturing. He also showed how Africa Swilling was building on a theme developed earlier by Professor Brian lumbered under the weight of disease while other developing O’Connell, rector of the University of the Western Cape (UWC). In a provocative countries had taken proactive steps to deal with problems presentation, O’Connell declared that South Africa’s leaders have made promises like malaria, Aids and TB. they cannot deliver on and the time has come for them to be honest with themselves It was time for South Africa’s leaders to “make some and with the people they serve. difficult choices”, realise “they couldn’t do it all” and “A leader’s role is to deal with the truth, face challenges, lead by example and “give their people a story” which would define who provide alarming perspectives,” he said, “this means a leader is not always popular they were and what their priorities would be in the and pushes the boundaries (of a society’s) comfort zone.” future, he said. O’Connell said local leaders failed dismally when it came to implementation of “At UWC we have a motto ‘From hope to action their policies because they had not thought through the practical implementation through knowledge’ which sums up the challenge or long term consequences of their ideas. facing all leaders in our country now,” he explained. Swilling gave an example of this thinking in his presentation. “Having the right knowledge before taking action “Looking specifically at Cape Town,” he explained, “we see that the city was crucial if a society’s hopes were ever going to be has for years being sprawling outward in an unsustainable way. When a city met, he said. sprawls outward, the strain on infrastructure becomes immense and the cost Echoing O’Connell’s sentiments Swilling of transport will increase for those further out from the centre. And it’s an pointed out that in certain areas municipal unfortunate fact that it is the poor that bear the brunt of this as they usually leaders would have to be fearless and willing live furthest out from the business centres. It’s a problem all cities face but with to take a hard-line in pushing unpopular Cape Town surrounded by mountains on one side and the sea on the other, it’s solutions. a problem that is even more difficult to tackle.” “Recycling, for example,” he explained. Using examples based on his experiences as the former Head of Education in “This is non-negotiable as far as I am the Western Cape, O’Connell said there had been insufficient long term planning concerned. Recycling by-laws need to be in the introduction of many changes in national education which had left schools created, passed and enforced – if people don’t in chaos. recycle they must be penalised until they do “What our government should have explained to its people was exactly what and I can tell you that a lot of people will be resources were available and how they would be distributed,” he said. Instead very upset at this. But it must be done. the majority of people expected much more than they were given and could not “Landfills are not only an eyesore and an understand why their aspirations were left unmet. environmental hazard, but expensive too. O’Connell said it was fear of political unpopularity, especially in the Western As landfills are moved further out from Cape, that encouraged leaders to avoid the truth. the city centre, transport of refuse costs “When I told schools the truth the majority accepted what I had to say but others increase as does your energy spend were angry and in one instances 300 protesters surrounded my home because they and that is unsustainable.” didn’t like what they heard,” he said. He did, however, add a proviso, He used the example of the change of curriculum in schools which was, he said, saying that leaders at all levels need “a radical response to apartheid education” to highlight the importance of long to be wary of becoming arrogant term planning and thinking through consequences. and unapproachable. “I phoned Thami Mseleku, (then DG of Education), and asked him if the “Yes, our leaders do need to be national education department was going to provide us with the R40 million fearless at times, willing to take needed for new textbooks for the new grades one, two and three curriculum,” he the less-popular route. said. But they also need to It was clear (from Mseleku’s response) that there had been no thought of new be open to new ideas textbooks. and input from other Swilling highlighted the important impact made by a major shift in housing sources. There was a and settlement policy in the Western Cape that has allowed local government reason God gave to address a lack of resources and the problems caused by poor planning. us two “We have moved away from the one size fits all philosophy, recognising that ears and different communities have different needs and we need to take cognisance of only one that if we are to succeed in creating sustainable settlements,” he said. mouth… “We also decided to take the optimistic approach to see sustainability as well so we as financial challenges as an opportunity to allow for innovation in planning can listen and management rather than as an obstacle to settlement creation. twice as “Most important was the decision to actively and constructively engage much as with the city’s residents and communities. To successfully create sustainable we talk.” Working together is the key to success O ne of South Africa’s have had some notable success in most embattled local rehabilitating the city. And we managed municipalities, the to do all this because there was a focus Mnquma Local Council, in the on leadership from the top down. Our Eastern Cape has pulled its socks up projects had mayoral priority and, very and, at last, has structures in place to significantly, local government led the begin providing services to its people. process of regeneration.” In his presentation, Fundile Key to the JDA’s success, Reid Feketshane, officer manager for explained, was the building of strong the Mnquma Municipal Council, partnerships between the agency, local described how political infighting and government and key stakeholders, incompetence by officials had led to such as inner city business as well as the complete collapse of the Eastern the informal business sector. Cape’s fifth largest local municipality. “For example, we got the taxi “There was abuse of municipal industry and informal traders involved assets, political interference in the in the plan to build more and better taxi DETERMINED: Phila Xusa and Graeme Reid administration, a high staff turnover ranks and open-air markets. Not just and a total disregard for policies and through consultation but by actually processes,” he said. Mossel Bay, Uniondale, Haarlem, Riversdale, getting them to work on the design projects. It was But now the Mnquma Local Municipalityis an Heidelberg and Oudtshoorn. In response to a simple, but at the same time, radical change to example of a South African success story. these natural catastrophes a District Disaster our approach and it worked superbly. Feketshane described how, through political will Management Centre is being built and is expected “By getting those stakeholders involved not only and firm leadership by the provincial government to be completed later this year. More consideration did we build the best ranks and markets, but we did and the Amathole District Municipality, Mnqume also needed to be given to spatial development so with the minimum of fuss.” was able to elect a new mayor, speaker and chief whip planning with the district municipality enforcing While the JDA is an urban-based agency, and craft, from scratch, a new local authority. respect for estuaries and high-risk areas. the Amathole Economic Development Agency “Most important, our new leadership had to Hendry Christians, manager of infrastructure for (AEDA) is a largely rural organisation, focused instil discipline in council and introduce internal the Department of Local Government and Housing on stimulating and regenerating the small town controls,” he said. in the Northern Cape, spoke about the importance economies in the area of the Eastern Cape centred One way of instilling discipline and commitment of maintaining infrastructure. around East London and Port Elizabeth. from councillors was to deduct money from their He described how in, one workshop, delegates But the challenges – and the solutions – facing the allowances if they did not attend meetings. Auditors donned blue overalls and went out into communities two agencies are remarkably similar. Though, at 30 were brought in to help sort our financial controls to see how their decisions worked in practise. months, much younger than the JDA, the AEDA and stop the rampant thieving and misuse of council “Anybody who actually has to carry a 25 litre has already had notable success and spokesperson assets. Team building workshops consolidated rifts drum filled with water for 200 metres will have Phila Xuza says it’s all down to smart leadership and between staff while higher level discussions helped new insight into the impact of the decisions we take powerful and successful partnerships. towards resolving leadership tensions. on behalf of our communities.” “The AEDA focuses on those towns usually Over the last year the new council and its The potency of partnerships and the forgotten and because we work across a number administration have worked hard to build consequence of consultation in fulfilling leadership of municipalities,” she explained. “It is imperative partnerships with the nearby Walter Sisulu responsibilities was clear in other presentations as that we not only have strong leadership from within University, big business, other municipalities and well, as learners were reminded again and again the agency – which we are blessed with – but from economic development agencies. Political instability about the importance of strong and focused those above us and we got it in the form of excellent in the area meant factories had closed and jobs lost leadership. An example was in the way that strong political and financial support.” but efforts are now being made to resuscitate the municipal leadership enabled two very different From a miniscule starting budget of R800 000 local economy. development agencies to fulfil their mandates with in 2005, the AEDA now works with a budget “The change was stimulated through political as little fuss as possible. of R300 million, and from a stuttering start, the will and an understanding, by local leaders, that Speaking on behalf of the Johannesburg agency is now in full swing creating and managing they had a responsibility to their people,” said Development Agency (JDA), the first development a multitude of projects across the province. Feketshane. agency created in South Africa, in 2001, former “Strong leadership aside,” said Xuza, “a major In a presentation for the Eden District CEO Graeme Reid paid tribute to the municipal factor in our growing success has been the good Municipality, Kelvin Vollenhoven, described leadership that drove the JDA’s work in restoring a communication between all stakeholders. We place how the local authority has had to cope with an declining Johannesburg to its former glory. a priority on mobilising people and keeping them unprecedented series of natural disasters over the “When the JDA was created, Johannesburg was, informed. last few years culminating in killer floods last quite frankly, a mess,” he said. “The inner city was “It’s been said often but we must always November. in tatters and there was a serious lack of investment remember that we are servants of the people and Damage to infrastructure and loss of services had across the board, a direct consequence of the failure you cannot serve people without keeping them been widespread in the area under the jurisdiction of local authority decision making. It was a failure properly informed. of the district municipality which serves Knysna, of the municipal leadership of the time. “Debate is vital,” she concluded. “Talk to each George, Plettenberg Bay, Calitzdorp, Ladismith, “However, since the JDA was established we other!” Navigating through the muddy waters of power L ocal government in South Africa was government departments. something far bigger.” being held up by an attitude of “if it’s The way forward for local government was Following on this she said hard choices were broke, don’t fix it” with a tendency to to identify key individuals who could navigate made easier when leaders stayed close to their construct a new structure every time local their way through “the muddy waters” and moral centre. government came up against a problem. In use fiscal resources to reward appropriate Sibisi talked about the importance of practise this meant talk-shops were standing behaviours and outcomes. local economic development and how in the way of real action. “We have to harness people power and local government needed to work out its Sinazo Sibisi, from the Development Bank build relationships,” she said, “the long view responsibilities in terms of stimulating of South Africa, worked hard to drive home is critical as there is no quick fix (to local economies in the areas they served. this message to municipal leaders. government problems). We have to find The history of the country and the transition “Too often the response to a problem is to comfort in complexity.” of political but not economic power mean set up a parallel structure rather that working It was crucial for local government leaders that the majority of people were still looking through a process to resolve the issue,” Sibisi to identify the links between their different to the government to create the platform for said, “Aren’t we simply extending our lack of priorities. their economic success. capacity to another institution?” They also had to confront hard choices and “The question for us is how do we give This was one of the major leadership build the political will to make trade-offs. people alternatives?” she said. challenges facing the country along with Sibisi reiterated what University of the Her view was the local governments needed increasing centralization of governance because Western Cape rector Brian o’Connell said to focus on creating enabling environments for of lack of capacity on the ground. This was earlier in the week; “We have to say to people economic growth, which would shift the locus made worse by a lack of co-ordination within – this is what is possible, even if they desire of control from the state to the individual. Rasool calls for humility and honesty A great leader must act with enough confidence to leave a legacy the end it was she who was the most honest.” but, at the same time, always remain humble remembering Then there is Othello who eventually became totally paranoid his position is uncertain and that he could be replaced at any because of all the stories people put in his head, said Rasool. time. “If I was to become paranoid based on all the stories people told me Western Cape premier Ebrahim Rasool made these remarks during I would be fighting some huge battles in the Western Cape.” his ‘On the Couch’ interview with E-TV news reporter Lukhanyo Rasool said he was also deeply inspired by the old liberation leaders Calato. like Oliver Tambo who kept alive a vision of a free South Africa that “Never treat a leadership position as permanent,” Rasool told a “superseded the contests going on below him. He never captivated audience, “always retain humility and understand that forgot that the struggle was bigger than any one someone came before you and someone will come after you.” individual.” The premier, who lives with his family on the luxurious Leeuwenhof When asked what his goal was for the Western Cape, Estate in the centre of Cape Town, said he regularly drove past his Rasool said it was to unite the province’s people. “real” home and constantly reminded his children that the “black car “There are fault lines in the Western belongs to the government and the red car is ours.” Cape where the “If you want the freedom to be who you are and to be honest in demographics politics then you have to adjust your lifestyle so that you don’t have too and differences much to lose,” he explained. are played on by He said he had arrived at this conclusion at a time in his life when his opportunists with political future seemed insecure and he was concerned of the impact the intention of this could have on his family. creating deep “I am not sure I have resolved the dilemma,” he said, “but I am divisions.” grappling with it.” The talk drove When asked who inspired him, Rasool said he had been fortunate home the message enough to study English literature at university and it was the heroes that it was “an of Shakespeare’s great tragedies who had taught him the most valuable enormous honour” leadership lessons of his life. to be a leader in “I sometimes wonder if I am too much like Hamlet. Too much South Africa and caution can lead to indecisiveness. Remember his speech…To be or that it was a role not to be?” that should be “One doesn’t want to fall like King Lear,” said Rasool, who explained conducted with how Lear was taken in by his daughters who flattered him but who discretion and ignored the one who told him she loved him “as meat loves salt. ” “In grace. Somerset West Declaration We, the delegates of municipalities and provincial government in the Western, Eastern and Northern Cape gathered here in Somerset West from 24-28 March 2008, as both elected representatives and appointed public officials, acknowledge the sacred trust that has been placed in us by the people of our locality and our country and commit ourselves to serving the public good with integrity, responsibility, transparency, enthusiasm and selflessness. In acknowledging the advances and achievements made in improving the lives of people, we note that our society remains marked by the intolerable scars of separate and uneven development, economic exclusion and social divisions and that it is incumbent upon us as leaders within government to use this privilege to accelerate delivery and development to the best of our ability. We acknowledge that the ability of any society to address such challenges in a sustainable manner is strongly influenced by the quality and commitment of its leadership. We further note the sterling and inspiring examples of leadership which led us out of apartheid into democracy and who continue to serve as role models for us. We therefore commit ourselves to build our individual and collective leadership capabilities and the capability of those with whom we work. To this end, we undertake: To be role models for an inspirational and visionary leadership based on ethical principles; To take on our roles and responsibilities with resilience, courage and sensitivity; To identify and prioritise the key challenges facing us and to fearlessly tackle them collaboratively in order for them to make the greatest impact on enhancing the life of current and future generations; To behave in a manner that is responsive and accountable to our peers, our organisations and our communities; To work with our colleagues and our staff in a manner that builds their capacity and enables them to execute their responsibilities effectively and with commitment; and To pursue ongoing learning, reflection and exchange of best practice with the aim of improving our leadership qualities and abilities.
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